Kevin Hellriegel's Blog of Worthless Advice

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Tag Archives: family

How to distance yourself from Family & Friends – Your Worthless Advice Tips

Ah, social media…isn’t it fun?  Social media is the prefect way for you to avoid your family and friends.  Why should you meet them in person when you can just do all of your social interactions online?  Remember, all that matters in life now is how many “likes” you get and how many “Oh, I’m so jealous of your life” comments you receive.

Distance Yourself: If you had any friends, this is a wonderful way to keep them a good distance away from beach-1869523_1920.jpgyou.  Remember when you liked to see people in person and interact with them?  No more.  Instead of meeting with them at the local bar, just post a photo of your drink.  Make sure the drink is artistically placed and the background is out of focus.  Preferable you have a tropical background so you get lots of “likes”.

Meeting up with friends in person is so overrated.  Stick to drinking at home.  By yourself.  On your couch.

What about family and seeing them during the holidays?  Oh, the dreaded holidays where you are forced to see your relatives for once or twice a year and pretend you like to hear the story about their cat, Mr. Pickles.  (Mr. Pickles is nothing compared to my  Mr. Whiskers…but we all know that and I’m getting off subject here).  How do you deal with your relatives when you are stuck there with them?

Easy…sit on the couch and check your phone every 15 seconds. beer-422138_1920.jpg I mean, you drove all the way over to your Aunt’s house, why actually be “there”.  Your body can be there but in reality, we all know that looking at your social media accounts are much more important that actually talking with your relatives.  Who cares about that awesome Thanksgiving dinner?  Who cares that this might be the last time you see Uncle Milton?  (Who really cares about Uncle Milton anyway…you aren’t included in his will).

Post as many photos of the gathering you can so it looks like you are having fun.  Remember, social media is here to make others feel bad.  You need to make it look like your family gathering is much more fun and exciting than your friend Sarah.  (Not that you’ll actually ever see Sarah again since you are going to never physically see her again.)  Be sure to add a bunch of fun filters to the images as well.

Bonus Worthless Advice Tip: Always have your headphones on.  Listen to some electronic dance music.

Heck, it’s Friday night….time to ignore your co-workers and sit on your phone.  Scroll through Instagram, Facebook, Twitter….those are where the real social interactions are happening!

Enjoy your weekend!  To make your life easier, just click on the like button below.  Make my social media day…and if you want to comment, please go ahead.  Make sure your comment makes me jealous that your life is so much better than mine.  Thanks…go ahead, make me feel bad.

 

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Learn How to Make One Cocktail Drink – Your Signature Drink…

cocktail-518712_1920Everyone once and a while, I get out of my cave and have a nice evening out.  This to could be to a friend’s house for dinner, maybe a show, or even a fantastic dinner with my wife.  Depending on the season, I will try a new cocktail drink to broaden my otherwise quite dull drinking range.

And when I do that, I might come across a new “signature drink” I’ll try for the season.  A couple of winters ago, it was the Candy Cane Martini.  During an early summer fundraising party, my friend Mark made amazing Lemon Drops for the attendees and that became a summer favorite.  Vodka Lemonades remind me of camping on the Columbia River at Lincoln Rock State Park with friends and family, so those were popular one summer.

However, my “go to” drink is the Manhattan.  Easy to make and not too difficult to master.  And one of my favorites because it reminds me of my cousin Stephen and New York City.  (Here’s the point when you should be hearing some sappy music and a tear should come to your eye as I take you down my memory lane….)alcohol-MANHATTAN.jpg

What is your “Signature Cocktail Drink”?  What one drink can you make and be know for?  Does it bring you back to a certain time or memory?

 

Fat Ass Dads Weight Loss Challenge Update October 3

A couple of days ago, I came in at 215 lbs. That is 11 pounds under my starting weight of 226. Not bad since we all started the Fat Ass Dads Weight Loss Challenge around September 4. Of course one whiny father waited until after his birthday to start because he couldn’t resist stuffing his fat face full of cheeseburgers, fries, ice cream, birthday cake, and Pacific Northwest microbrews. I guess my advice was deemed worthless advice when I muttered the word: moderation.

Besides my weight loss, I’m not sure of everyone’s weight loss progress. Only two of my friends (Mark and Kris) have reported to me their weight loss. I suspect some of the Dads are hoping I forgot about it (or them) and will let this little contest faded away. But unlike my belly fat and my hair, we are all in this for the long haul.

Now, one of the Dads would like us all to have a little get together to meet all of the participants in the Fat Ass Dads Weight Loss Challenge. I’m hoping it is so he can size up the competition and see if he has a decent chance of winning. In my opinion, he could take it all. He has the most to lose and as a result would come out a huge winner.

However, if he wants to get together to talk about our “feelings” in regards to this contest and the underlying reasons behind why we are doing it, then I’m out. I’m not here to talk about personal motivation nor dive deep into some psychology babble about how my kitty cat doesn’t love me anymore and that’s why I’m fat. My personal motivation is that I have a pot belly. Sure, it doesn’t look huge because I have broad shoulders, massive biceps, and a killer smile. On top of that, my sculptured back is hard to miss. Throw my extremely good looking muscular legs that make Arnold Schwarzenegger look like a twig stick man, then it is easy to miss my belly fat. But it is there. And it is disappearing.

So you can see, I know my motivation. I don’t need to talk about my feelings. Feelings are for your special “girlfriend” you like to talk to. Sure, some people might refer to her as a whore but who am I to judge? She could be a hooker or a therapist. I’ll be neutral and use the term “friend”. Talk to your special friend about your feelings because we know your spouse doesn’t care (or your male friends for that matter) about your personal motivation.

One method I have found useful of avoiding talking about your feelings, yet will allow you to loss weight, is doing a few lines of coke off your special girlfriend’s ass. However, I think the preferred method nowadays is crystal meth. Again, not my cup of tea but to each their own, right?

All joking aside (and it is a joke people…just say “no” to drugs), the Fat Ass Dads Weight Loss Challenge continues. I’m going to continue to eat my daily salads, eat my protein, and do a killer workout.

As always, your sarcastic thoughts, gems of wisdom, and worthless advice are welcome.

Back to School and a Ruined Labor Day Weekend

Here in Washington State, our school kids don’t go back to school until the last week of August or the first week of September. In fact, my kids went back to school on August 28. In comparison, the Seattle School District started yesterday September 3, 2014. This makes a heck of a lot more sense than starting August 28, going to school for two days, and then having Labor Day weekend off. It puts a bitter taste on the last week of August and Labor Day. You can’t milk summer out for a bit longer. Instead, you must think of getting your kids back in time for starting school on Thursday before Labor Day weekend.

It isn’t like anything is done the first two days of school when you have Labor Day weekend right there. Everyone knows that Thursday and Friday (before the Labor Day weekend) are “throwaway” days of education. You might as well let the kids watch TV because they sure aren’t paying attention to the teachers during those two days of school.

Labor Day Weekend wasn’t ruined for me. I always have fun. This year instead of heading to Anderson Island for the three day weekend, we went camping at Sun Lakes State Park. It was a good choice because we left the rain behind. Sun Lakes is located on the eastern side of Washington, roughly three hours away from our house. While western Washington might be experiencing rain and misery, the eastern side of the state will have sunshine, rainbows, and unicorns. Well, maybe not unicorns and rainbows but you get the idea. The weather is nice. We don’t have lots of rain and huddle under blue tarps. In eastern Washington, we don’t do the “blue tarp” camping made famous on the west side of the state. In eastern Washington, you slap on the sun block (SPF 45) and a big hat

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What lurks beneath the waters of this lake?

What lurks beneath the waters of this lake?

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It's all fun and games until someone falls off the cliffs!

It’s all fun and games until someone falls off the cliffs!

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On the negative side, it was windy in the evenings and the state park was full. Truth be told, it was very windy and miserable in that respect. The first night was bad. The tent was flapping around, keeping both myself and my wife wide awake. You would drift off to sleep, and then a gust of wind would pop up and wake you up. The second night, the wind was just as bad but I wore my ear plugs and I enjoyed the evening a bit more.

Sun Lakes State Park has a few different lakes within the park boundaries. On Sunday, we hiked along the Deep Lake Trail which was about 2 to 2.5 miles round trip. It goes right along the lake and is an easy hike. There is an opportunity to do some cliff diving or jumping off the cliff edge but we didn’t do it this trip. Perhaps next time we can jump off some basalt rock cliffs into the water below, have a scary monster grab us and drag us under.

I did manage to get some swimming in Sun Lake itself with my daughter and her friend. The weather was a bit cloudy, the wind was blowing, and the water was a little colder than I would have preferred. However, it was probably going to be the last swim of summer so I toughed it out. I’m not a little baby (well, I really am but I try to act tough).

My son and I also did a twilight walk where he was almost hit by a bat. Lots of bats on the Park Lake Trail, however I can’t complain about the bats because they keep the bug population down. Go bats!

Overall, the camping trip was a good one. No flat tires, no lost sleeping bags. The drive home wasn’t too bad. I’d go again but probably opt for a RV campsite further and with less wind.

 

Thanks for reading and your comments are always welcome!

Loon Lake Vacation: A week of our family together and we didn’t kill each other!

Loon Lake Vacation: A week of our family together and we didn’t kill each other!

This summer, instead of spending a week on the Oregon Coast, our family went to Loon Lake in Eastern Washington.  Sure, it isn’t Southern California with Disneyland but I wanted to go somewhere to read a book, play some board games, swim, canoe, and just plain relax.

Eagle on our lawn!

To be honest, I have never been to Loon Lake but with the handy dandy internet it appeared to be a good choice. 

Where the heck is Loon Lake?  Loon Lake is about 26 miles north of the city of Spokane and an easy drive north from the downtown Spokane area on U.S. Highway 395.  As I said before, we have never been to Loon Lake but I did do some research on the internet, asked a few friends (who where from the Spokane area), and it turned out to be a good choice.  We rented a house right on Loon Lake with the thought that we would have another family come with us.  As it turned out, no one else could make it (or maybe they just didn’t want to spend a week with me?).  Nevertheless, we had a nice family vacation with just the four of us.

The other bonus (of Loon Lake) was our mobile phones didn’t work (no cell signal) and we had no wi-fi/internet at the house we had rented.  We were disconnected and it was very nice to be out of the loop.  No Facebook, no Google searches, no email; just books to read, games to play, canoes to paddle, and a warm lake to swim in.

Our house was located on the east shore of Loon Lake so we had a sunset to admire every night.  The weather was a mix of sunshine, rain, and thunderstorms.  We had some awesome lightening storms a few nights while we were at Loon Lake.

The wildlife around Loon Lake is abundant.  We had a bald eagle that landed on our lawn with a huge fish one morning, lots of ducks, loons, etc.  The fishing is Loon Lake is supposed to be very good as well.  They stock it with silver salmon in the spring and our neighbor mentioned several other kinds of fish.  I’m not much of a fisherman, so I didn’t pay too much attention to the list of fish mentioned.

One drawback to our vacation house was the lake was a bit shallow off our beach and dock area.  You could swim but it took a while for you to get to a deep enough spot to swim.  It was only five feet deep 50-75 yards off our beach and it was very mucky (if you put your feet down and tried to touch the bottom).  If we come back to Loon Lake, I would like to have a vacation house with a beach with a steeper slope and less muck off the beach.Loon Lake house

We brought a canoe and this allowed us to paddle out to a swim dock (that one of our neighbors had anchored in deeper water).  We had a great time jumping off the float and swimming in the deeper water.  In August, the Loon Lake water is very clear and warm.  It was warm enough that I wish I had brought along my snorkel gear; I’m sure I would have enjoyed myself for a few hours swimming around.

Loon Lake is a fairly large lake at 1,100 acres.  It is about 2 miles long and 1 mile wide with a depth of 100 feet at its deepest point.  You will see jet skis and water ski boats driving around, but it wasn’t too busy during the week we stayed.  I wasn’t annoyed by the noise and most of the time; you can’t hear a ski boat on the other side of the lake.  I’m not sure that Loon Lake has a public boat launch or a public beach.  Perhaps the lack of a public boat launch keeps the crazy boaters off the lake?

loon Lake, Washington

If we come back to Loon Lake next summer, we will most likely come a week or two earlier in the month of August and look for a smaller cabin/house if it just the four of us again.  The house was too large for us.  We will look for a smaller house, maybe one with a hot tub.  We would also be nice to have a water ski boat (but I haven’t been waterskiing for about 18 years or longer).  Or some loud jet skis!  So if you have either, you are already invited for next summer’s Loon Lake vacation.

I don’t have a job here but I’m still Employee of the Month because I rock it!

Today, I was made Employee of the Month at Gyro Café Seattle.  This is more of testimony to my wonderful work ethic and awesome customer service skills because I’m not even a real employee there!

This will no doubt make my cousin Kim extremely jealous because she has worked there longer than I have.  She also is a real employee and does more work than I could ever do because I’m just an imaginary employee.  However, even as an employee for a whole hour and 15 minutes, I set the customer service bar high.  It comes down to my superior customer service skills and my ability to adjust and adapt to work situations.  My lack of knowledge on how to operate a Point of Sale computer did make the task a bit scary at first, however, I always stay calm under pressure.  Even as I was thrown into the job as cashier, I truly rocked it and bought a whole new level of excellence to the customer service department at Gyro Café Seattle

I darn well say that the Yelp reviews posted today will be all five stars because of me.

Not to worry, I didn’t handle any food.  I only handle the sales; the money; the life blood of the restaurant.  With my great attitude and cheerful outlook on life, customers are naturally inclined to want to order from me.  They can’t help but know that by placing their order with me, it will be delicious.  That is the way I roll in any establishment I work at; I make it delicious.

Sure, you could say that the customers walking through the door already like the awesome food created by my cousin Jessica’s husband Simon, but I think we know the real reason people came in today: Me!

If you happen to be in the Capitol Hill neighborhood of Seattle, you’ll find Gyro Café Seattle located across from the South Building of the Group Health Medical Center.  Here is the address so you can pop it into your GPS tomorrow for lunch: 107 15th Ave E, Seattle, WA 98112

You can’t go wrong with the Lamb/Beef Gyro.  It’s affordable and quite tasty.  One of my favorites so you know it has to be good because I’m recommending it.

If you are looking for a positive change in your business, workplace, government office, or your home, I am available for consulting.

Until you have the nerve to call me, you can always leave your comments below.

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This is the Yard that Child Slave Labor Built!

My neighbors are having phase 2 of their landscaping yard done over the next few days by professionals.  As you can imagine, I feel that this is cheating because everyone knows that if your children haven’t broken their little backs, toes, and fingers making your yard awesome, then you haven’t done anything worth talking about.

This Do-It-Yourself (DIY) work or die attitude has been passed down from generation to generation on both my mother’s side and father’s side of my family.  It is in my blood to see my children (and the neighborhood children) slave away moving rocks from one side of the yard to the other.  I compare of my efforts of creating a wonderful yard to that of the English aristocrats that keep their rose gardens all prim and proper.  I often wear my big fluffy hat as I garden in the flower beds while I wait for my afternoon tea.

Crumpets anyone? photo from http://www.vancouverislandgardentrail.com

Nothing impresses on small children the value of hard work when they can look their hands and see the blisters forming.  To get that visual of a day’s hard work in your hand is nothing short of accomplishment in my mind.  And a few stones that fall onto their toes once in a while will teach them that you always need proper footwear at my house.  Hobble home young underage yard worker, tomorrow is another day of back breaking labor!

One of my favorite moments of teaching is when a child starts to cry after being worked to the bone.  If you can push them a little bit more, they can learn how to push themselves to success.  My motto: If you ain’t crying, you ain’t trying.  They need to learn their boundaries and how to push themselves past the point of self imposed limits.  Success comes to those that push themselves (or are pushed by a slave driver parent).

Valuable lessons abound in making your yard an oasis for you to enjoy.  One of my favorite lessons is to change the project midstream so all of the hard work my kids just did was for nothing.  All of their hard work building that fence is gone once I realize I want the fence three more feet to the left.  Kind of reminds you of your boss at work, doesn’t it?  See!  Another lesson from adult life brought home for children to learn from!  Can you hear your boss now?

“Johnson, remember how I had you write that twenty page report on how we can make our workflow more efficient?  Well, we are switching focus again so your goal oriented results report isn’t going to cut it now.  You’ll have to do it all over.  And I need it by Monday.  Don’t forget the cover sheet on your TPS report too!”

So my request to move the fence three feet to the left is just preparing them for the future.  Am I a great teacher or what?

To get the most out of child workers, you should also offer incentives.  You don’t actually have to follow through on the incentives, but you should offer them.  Tell them: If you finish that 65 foot long rock wall by tonight, I’ll take you to the lake tomorrow!  As you can imagine, when they fail to finish you can tell them that you would love to take them to the lake but you can’t reward failure.  That just wouldn’t be fair.  By setting unrealistic goals, you know that you’ll never have to follow through with your rewards.  Again, another great realistic life lesson for your kids to experience.  Their future boss will do the exact same thing to them in their future job.  They will hate him as much as they hated you as a child.  Yet, they won’t quite make the connection until they are older and in therapy.  By then it will be too late.

You should view your yard as an outdoor classroom.  It is always changing; as are the lessons you are teaching your children.  The neighborhood kids can be invaluable teaching tools as they are extra help for the really big projects and to show the concept of favoritism.  You can treat them better than your own kids. This is to show your kids that they need to work even harder in a fruitless effort to gain your love and attention.  Always tell the neighbor kid he is doing an awesome job but ignore your own kid.  Then sit back and watch your kid step up their efforts.  The sad look in their little faces as they wait for that one positive comment from you to justify their existence is a reward in itself.

As summer rolls on, you should always look to the future of child labor.  Even if your kids are grown up, you can tap into your grandkids.  What if you are young and have no children?  Consider the neighbor kids or even a cousin or two.  Never pay a professional when you can easily watch a half hour TV program and have kids there to assist you in your landscaping dreams!

Ah!  Rock walls....

Ah! Rock walls….

Hawaii Life TV Show

Yesterday, I managed to watch another episode of the TV show “Hawaii Life”.  This one involved a former pro surfer who was moving back to Oahu (Hawaii).  Oahu is called the “Gathering Place” island and roughly 85% of the state’s population lives on Oahu.  That is about 850,000 people.  As you can figure out, the State of Hawaii has about 1 million people.  This doesn’t include the tourist population that is coming and going throughout the year.

Now, you might now that my parents still live on the island of Kauai (know as the Garden Isle) and that I lived there for a while in my youth.  I attended Kapa’a High School on Kauai.

When you tell people you went to school in Hawaii, everyone thinks it must have been totally awesome.  Warm weather, the beach, the kick back lifestyle.

As a teenager, it wasn’t as fun as you can imagine.  I’m a haole boy (a Caucasian) so I got picked on.  Part of the problem I was a big kid, not fat mind you, just physically big.  I swam, mountain biked, and lifted weights (me Incredible Hulk, me strong…not really).  I was a pretty good target for local boys that didn’t like haoles.

Not all of my experience on Kauai was bad.  I did have some great friends and did a lot of fun activities.  I was just careful on where I went and who I was hanging out with.  If I had my big Hawaiian friends, I was able to go to some rougher areas.  If I was with my haole friends, we went to the more public beaches.

When I watch the “Hawaii Life” show, I enjoy it.  The show “Hawaii Life” is well done.  It is fun to see sunshine, surf, and the beaches here in the comfort of my Seattle home.  Hawaii is a wonderful place and after watching this type of show I get a bit homesick.  The weather looks wonderful, the beaches look inviting, and the family (buying the house) appears to be very happy.

SAM_1334kevin

To combat my feelings of moving back, I quickly watch a few episodes of “Dog the Bounty Hunter”.  Nothing like Dog chasing down some meth head or bail jumper to snap me back into reality and wake me up!  The reality being that Hawaii is like everywhere else.  Sure, you have great weather but you also have drugs and crime, good times and bad times.  Life is what you make of it.

In the meantime, I plan to whine about not living in Hawaii and not buying a house like the folks on “Hawaii Life”.  Boo hoo.  Poor me!  What am I going to do.  Perhaps I should start a donation site in which people (like yourself) could contribute to my family’s move back to Kauai.  What do you think about that?

Opening Up those Family Lines of Communication

My wife asked me the other day, what do I do all day long.  I wanted to tell her the truth that I usually do nothing but watch TV and read blogs, but that isn’t entirely true.  I usually try to think up of ways to amuse other people with my witty commentary and open the lines of communication between family members.  For an example, the other night, we had a post Christmas celebration with some family friends.  Their children are now 22 and 24 and are both males.  One has a serious live in girlfriend and the other one is in his final year of college.

After a fun evening, they were on their way out the door and I saw the After Christmas Sales Ad for Toys R Us.  I asked the older one (with the serious girlfriend) if he wanted to look through it for some good toys.  However, this was a joint ad flyer with Babies R Us as well as the Toys R Us section.  I told him he should take the flyer home, circle a few of the car seats and baby strollers and then leave it out where his mom could find it.  He would depart to his home two and a half hours away.  She would freak out, frantically call and text him numerous times (which he could ignore and chuckle to himself) as he drove home.

See?  Doesn’t that help to open up the lines of communication in the family?

Like I said, I’m a communications expert in family relationships.

Oh Man, the holidays are here!

Well, most of my neighbors have their holiday lights up on their houses.  Even my lame next door neighbors managed to do something this year.  I’m a little slow on the draw due to a few valid and extremely good reasons:

  • I don’t like to climb up on my slippery roof to hang lights.
  • I usually wait until after my son’s birthday (December 4).
  • I’m lazy.

That last reason really isn’t a reason as much as a character trait.  I really am lazy.

OK, not really lazy but busy.  It is the Christmas delivery crunch time for my photography business so between getting all the school retake photos done and finishing up the digital retouching on my family orders; I’m busy.

Tomorrow, we are headed out to a U-Cut tree farm run by Jeff Coates (a fellow UW business student).  This will be our first time out there and we are excited to go.  Unlike my pumpkin patch experience (https://khellriegel.wordpress.com/2011/10/23/yes-it-is-my-fault-a-pumpkin-patch-adventure/), I’ll be sure to tell my family that in the Seattle, in the month of December, you will most likely be walking through muddy areas and your shoes will get dirty.  I highly recommend wearing some good boots.  I should further mention that it will be cold (currently temperature is 37 degrees) and they should wear warm coats, pants, and maybe some gloves too.

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